Oh! The American experiment! An Oz if ever there was an Oz that was! At its core who wouldn’t want to be a part of it? Sailing to faraway lands to taste of the freedom from tyranny. The opportunity to climb the golden ladder of opportunity to success. “Land spreading out so far and wide…” – an opportunity to savor the American dream, and for many, to start anew.
That is why many have gone to such great lengths to get here, to emigrate to this “promised land,” sometimes at the great risk of death. It is not perfect, never has been, but it is the best thing on the menu.
Understandably, for some it may not be all that exciting to be a part of the American experience. For some it has been foisted upon them without the privilege of a choice to be made. For others it is the reality of barriers which hinder them from even getting to the first rung on that ladder. For others it may be a host of other maladies and challenges.
Admittedly there were some great religious, even biblical mores that paved the initial way. But, wow! Have we ever made some whopper mistakes along the way. Dismissing God and prayers from the public square. Embracing slavery as a vehicle to assure our success upon the backs of other people. The repression of many people groups. And, of course, abortion. All in all, we have simply exchanged one form of tyranny for another.
In the new land, the soul of capitalism grew. And a desire grew, one of manifest destiny. The idea that we were sovereignly endowed to overtake, to seize other lands and control them – to impose the exceptionalism of our new freedom upon “deficient” people groups. It really was Imperialism: the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas; the extension or imposition of power, authority, or influence (Webster). That was the model of the ancient world, right?
Over the few centuries our new-found religious freedom gave way to individual expression of any kind – sexual, religious, political. Our moral conscience became a bit more “elastic.” And, at some point we seem to have lost the compass of our souls – at least the ones that used the God of the Bible to define true north.
Many indictments are levied, but few answers proffered. The truth is only moral “actions” can be legislated. Hatred is internal, a matter of the heart, it cannot be excised from another person by any law. Racism, greed, and every other evil, are systemic within a broken heart and culture. As we continue to see, the solution is not held within any legislative or governmental body. More laws have not moved us in a direction of progress.
Hey, we cannot defend every country. We cannot feed every mouth in the world. And as far as domestic parasites we got them all the way up into the highest houses of government, who have decided personal gain is better, rather than the stability of the nation – who have decided it’s better to gorge from the public trough making thousands, taking millions, rather than building a more perfect union.
With such underpinnings it is hard to imagine the pillars of this nation being able to sustain the ever-increasing burden of guilt. Stress fractures were bound to exhibit somewhere at some time. But hey, this merry old land of Oz was never meant to be our home, at least, not our permanent home; we need to come to grips with that.
Yet, neither should we hasten its demise. Which is to say something needs to be done – intentionally done – to make things better. Can I suggest that reform may be better than destruction of the entire American Experiment? Again, it’s better than anything else on the menu.
Do we abandon our home, our lives? Certainly not. We continue to strive and move forward but we realize we have set up camp in a broken world.
The world is not our home. “For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come” (Hebrews 13:14); Heaven, our final home, is being built for us by the Messiah Himself.
Any castings of nobility here on Earth, and every residue of sin will be surrendered to a divinely restored blueprint.
Certainly, in the end what will be discovered is that Oz, the Emerald City was never truly “real” whatsoever. In fact, it was nothing more than an experiment, a vapor in the expanse of eternity – nothing more than a proposed ideology presented to a hopeful nation. From the strapped-on green glasses of deception, to the yellow bricks of promise, to the ruby slippers of hope… they were pretty, but unable to sustain any measure of feigned reality – unable to achieve the perfection of Eternal City of God.
Ultimately, in the end, though only a fairy tale, many would confess that Oz was nice while it lasted.
But, hey! The best is yet to come.